Frito Pie is one of those Southwest Chicano inventions that would make a traditional Mexican chef like Diane Kennedy cringe, but it is one of the most kid-friendly, festive and delicious stews you can eat in the street or in your own home. New Mexicans and Texans fight over who invented this famous concoction on an on-going basis. I don’t know who would win that feud, so let’s just say that it was a happy evolution!
My own favorite experience is the memory of sitting on the grass on the Santa Fe Plaza and having my husband hand me what looked like a bag of Fritos brimming with what I mistakenly called chile con carne. I said, “What is that?” and he said, “Frito Pie, Man.” When I asked where it came from, he said, “Woolworth’s.” And when I dipped that plastic spoon into that glorious hot mess I was a changed woman. Chicano food at its very best! They still sell it on the Plaza in Santa Fe, so hurry up before it goes away. The next best thing is to make it yourself. Lori and Malena “hacked” it with ground turkey instead of beef, but it has so much New Mexico red chile in it that no one will ever know you didn’t use beef. It’s a lot healthier and just as delicious.
Reminder: This recipe falls squarely in the ‘Poquito de Todo’ category. We don’t want to give up our beloved foods but we want to go easy on the portion sizes! One cup is plenty! Use the Fritos like a garnish and not like a staple. If your hijitos are still developing their chile tasting buds, cut back on the chile or use a milder version. And please serve it with a tossed green salad!
This one will take you home, Sister!
Makes 6 cups. 1 serving = 1 cup.